Economy

New York Attorney General Probes Cryptocurrency Trading Platforms

New York Attorney General Probes Cryptocurrency Trading Platforms

"Our Virtual Markets Integrity Initiative sets out to change that, promoting the accountability and transparency investors and consumers deserve".

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman asked 13 cryptocurrency exchanges for detailed information about their operations as part of a "fact-finding inquiry".

"Too often, consumers don't have the basic facts they need to assess the fairness, integrity, and security of these trading platforms", said Schneiderman in a prepared statement.

"The Initiative seeks to increase transparency and accountability as it relates to the platforms retail investors rely on to trade virtual currency, and better inform enforcement agencies, investors, and consumers", wrote Simon Brandler, senior advisor & special counsel at the Office of the Attorney General, and John Castiglione, Assitant Attorney General, Investor Protection Bureau, Office of the Attorney General.

Schneiderman's office is often early to defend consumer rights in the state of NY, so the cryptocurrency inquiry is very in line with the kind of work his office already does on behalf of NY state residents.

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Cryptocurrency exchanges match buyers and sellers of virtual currencies.

Representatives from Schneiderman's office wrote in a questionnaire accompanying the letter that although virtual currencies have "captured the imagination of millions of people worldwide", they also continue to be a "highly speculative sector, featuring significant volatility, instability, and risk".

The AG's Office said it launched the "inquiry" amid escalating public interest in bitcoin and the frequent hacks that have plagued the virtual currency ecosystem. The platforms often lack basic protections of traditional investing platforms and disclosures of rules and practices vary widely, making it hard for investors to evaluate risk, Schneiderman said.

Exchanges that have received letters include (1) Coinbase, Inc. He said that the questionnaire was part of a broader policy meant to protect investors and other customers of the exchanges.

Cryptocurrency trading has mushroomed recently in the wake of bitcoin's soaring price movements. The high so far today was $8,151.10 significantly above the $8,000 level.


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